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What makes a "great' album?


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With that tik tok video returning Fleetwood Mac's Rumours back to the Billboard top 100, music talk at work ramped back up. General consensus is that album is one of the all time greats in rock. Another guy brought up Hotel California and how it belonged on that list. While a lot of people agreed with him, I argued that that album is great because of the song Hotel California. Take it off the record and it's just okay. 

Obviously this is subjective. I'll concede to the argument that The Black album from Metallica is great album due to its importance in mainstreaming heavy music. I still argue ...And Justice For All is a better record for to there being less filler. 

What say you?

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For me, an album can't be called great on one hit song. As much as I'm meh on the Eagles, I'd say Hotel CA is a great album. It spawned three hit singles and doesn't have an unrecognizable tune on it. Joe Walsh meshed so well with the band and enhanced their sound. And they had a theme for the album that was laced well throughout the songs. AND it charted twice because of a re-release. Not many bands have pulled off all of this with one album, let alone many.

 

I've never been a big fan of Metallica so I can't say about them.

Other albums I'd call great: AC/DC Back in Black, Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Steely Dan's Aja

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Totally agree with you on what makes a great album. I'd also add what makes an album is the ability to stay relevant for multiple generations.  For example, Led Zeppelin IV and The Wall are still played and listen to by not just Boomers and Xers, but millennials and even zoomers, too. 

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A great album isn't just a great collection of songs. It needs to be cohesive and a whole, not just the songs that comprise. It's why Help!, although a great collection of songs, with Help!, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, You're Going to Lose that Girl, Ticket to Ride, Yesterday etc. isn't one of the great Beatles albums.

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I'm talking about the albums that already have a place in rock/pop/rap history. I think Arch Enemy's Wages of Sin is a great album. Its 19 years old but holds a miniscule place in metal history. Nor have the majority of you probably ever heard of it. 

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On 12/7/2020 at 3:28 AM, Metropolis said:

Obviously this is subjective. I'll concede to the argument that The Black album from Metallica is great album due to its importance in mainstreaming heavy music. I still argue ...And Justice For All is a better record for to there being less filler. 

What say you?

I’d go with most and say a great album is all killer, no filler.

Metallica in particular though - Black would probably have their most recognised and influential tracks but in terms of albums, I think Master of Puppets is their best and as a whole, the most influential. 

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Makes sense. I guess there is also the element of Great album & classic albums. 

Justice is a great album, Puppets is the classic. 

The Wall, Animals, Wish You Were Here are great albums, Dark Side of the Moon is the classic. (though strong argument all those albums are classic)

 

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